Now that you have decided to teach your baby sign language you may anxious to see results and progress. That’s understandable but let’s not forget some brief but very important key points to succeeding and reaching your goal of communicating with your baby through sign language.
1. Take It Slow:
I know you’re excited but begin with just one sign a week. Once your baby has learned the first sign move on to the next one. Introducing too many signs too quickly will only overwhelm and confuse your baby.
2. Begin With Important Signs:
Begin with words that will help you decipher what your baby’s needs are and then their interests. Start with words such as food, milk, drink,more, done, hurt (or owie as my daughter used to call it) and so on. As you baby grows and their interest in things grows, turn your signing towards words that will be useful when playing games or ones that follow their interest such as car, truck, or ball, etc.
3. Keep It Fun:
Chances are if you are not enjoying learning and teaching sign language to your baby, you won’t keep at it. If you are frustrated with it, likely your baby will feel that frustration as well. One thing I love to do is sing with my children (although I’m not a good singer my babies never seemed to mind). I learned and taught my babies signs for farm animals. So, when I sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” I use the signs for the farm animals and they picked up on that and did them when we sang. It’s fun and just becomes second nature to do while singing. Use the signs when reading to your baby too. Take the opportunity when it arrives such as when playing ball (sign “ball”).
My children signed even when I wasn’t signing back to them. They’s sign animal names when watching or listening to things like “The Wiggles” and “Sesame Street” or “Blue’s Clues”. Some of those shows aren’t on any more but I’m sure you can learn signs for the shows your babies seem to have an interest in.
4. Don’t Expect Perfection:
Don’t expect your baby to be able to perform the signs correctly at first. In fact, they may use the same sign for more than one word but you will figure out what they mean don’t worry about that. You may even decide to use a modified version of the American Sign Language (ASL).
There are a lot of products and books available to help you along whether you choose to teach ASL or a modified version of it.
Signing like any thing else you learn takes time and practice. Don’t expect to learn it all and teach it all in a few days or even weeks.
6. Be Persistent:
As the saying goes “Persistence pays off”. Keep trying at every opportunity to use sign language and soon it will just become second nature to both you and your baby.
7. Involve Every Family Member:
Make it a family affair. Not only will this help your baby learn the signs by repeatedly seeing the sign when the word is spoken but it will also build a bond between all family members. Sharing and signing together.
Keeping the key points listed above in mind, start now to build a special bond with your baby and open the so important line of communication.
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